March 7, 2018

These tips will keep your phone alive during a snowstorm

By Team Ventev Topic: Lifestyle

Snow and ice storms cause roughly 20,000 power outages each year.

Fortunately, most outages are relatively brief. Though crews are able to restore power to most people pretty quickly, some residents might live on candlelight for extended periods of time, like in South Dakota, where the average citizen spends about 13 hours per year in the dark.

During a major storm, having a working smartphone should be a priority. Just 43 percent of the homes in the U.S. have a landline, and those can be susceptible to the same worries that cause power outages: downed wires. Phones can be a lifeline to the outside world, a source of entertainment, a flashlight, a news resource, and give you a way of reporting a power outage to your electric company. That’s important, because the vast majority of power outages in a snowstorm are caused by downed trees. This type of power outage can be extremely localized. Telling the utility company where the power is out helps them locate the source of the outage.

But you can’t do that if your phone isn’t charged.

And don’t assume cell service is out just because power lines are down. Many cell towers operate on solar power or have battery backups. For the most part, the chances of a prolonged outage are pretty low, so our advice emphasizes the need to prepare for an outage lasting a few hours rather than the need to conserve energy because power might be out for a few days.

5 Tips to Prepare for a Storm:

  • Start with 100 percent charge. One of the most important steps you can take leading up to a storm is to make sure your devices are fully charged. As you’re watching the forecast, keep your phone and any laptops or tablets plugged in if there’s a chance of a power outage. And, if you’re in a rush to power up, avoid charging your phone through the USB port in your car or laptop. It’s usually much slower.
  • Prep your phone. When the power goes out, your Wi-Fi will too. Immediately check your phone and turn off the option to search for Wi-Fi. If not, your phone will constantly scan for a connection, burning up power. Other radios, like Bluetooth, eat up power too. Turn it off. If you get to a point where your phone has very little power, put it in airplane mode or turn it off until you need it.
  • Have backups. Portable power packs can double or triple your phone’s battery life. Get your laptop charged as well. You might be able to use it as a backup battery for your phone if you’re in a pinch.
  • Find phone-free activities. If the storm is particularly bad, and you think power might be out for a while, look for things you can do that don’t involve your phone. That means no mobile games, and no YouTube (your data plan wouldn’t be able to handle it anyway). Think board games and books by candlelight.
  • Turn on power saver modes. Many phones have power saver modes that turn off or limit certain features to contain battery drain. Here are instructions on how to turn on power saver modes for an iPhone and Android phone. There are also Android apps that monitor which services are eating up power and allow users to adjust battery consumption.

So power up and stay warm – spring is right around the corner.

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